Muawiyah I Biography
(Founder of the Umayyad Caliphate)
Born In: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Muawiyah I was the founder of the Umayyad Caliphate and also its first caliph. He and his father, Abu Sufyan, had opposed Prophet Muhammad, who was their distant Qurayshite kinsman. They captured Mecca in 630 AD after which Muawiyah became one of the Muhammad’s scribes. He reigned from 661 AD to 680 AD and his full name was Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan. Caliph Abu Bakr appointed him for the conquest of Syria. He gradually climbed the ladder until he became the governor of Syrian under Uthman. After Uthman was assassinated, he took upon himself to avenge Uthman’s death and oppose his successor, Ali. During the ‘first Muslim Civil War,’ their armies reached a stalemate in the ‘Battle of Siffin,’ and the war was settled through arbitration and Muawiyah was recognised as caliph. His ally, Amr ibn al-As, helped them conquer Egypt in 658 AD. He was known as a man of rare virtues. He was conscientious about justice and was fair to people of all sects. He was honourable towards people who possessed talent and helped them advance these talents, irrespective of their religion. He also showed great self-control toward ignorant men and generosity toward lesser beings. He was considered to be a balanced and just ruler. According to Abdullah ibn Abbas, there was no man better suited to rule than Muawiyah.